UC Hastings students showed their love for their law school by creating original videos in a contest sponsored by Class of 1996 alumni.
In the 15 videos submitted, students sang original songs, played instruments, cracked jokes and took on acting roles, among other talents. Participants were asked to create one-to-two-minute videos describing what they like most about UC Hastings. The winners and runners-up were awarded scholarship prizes.
First-place winner Celina Reynes ’24 wrote an original song with lyrics that included, “The best thing about Hastings is the people that you meet – the professors who will mentor you, the late nights writing briefs, and the breakthrough conversations that will knock you off your feet.” Reynes impressed the judges by singing and strumming the ukulele in her video submission.
Christian Nickolas ’24, who won an honorable mention award, reenacted Hastings ‘89 alumna and Vice President Kamala Harris’ post-election phone call to Joe Biden in November 2020. “We did it, Joe,” said a smiling Nickolas while sporting a pair of sunglasses and speaking into a cell phone. “We’re gonna submit the best video for the class of 1996.”
The video contest was designed to provide a fun, unique way for students to interact with alumni, compete for scholarship prizes, and get creative while showcasing the law school, according to Jolene Yee ‘ 96, who came up with the idea for the contest. The videos touched on the school’s prime location, access to career opportunities, and a supportive community of faculty and students.
“I loved everything about these videos,” Yee said. “I was floored by the great lengths the students went to tell their stories. I absolutely loved how some videos made me laugh out loud, and some brought tears to my eyes.”
The Class of 1996 showed their appreciation for the clever short films by donating scholarship money to three winners and three honorable mention awardees. Yee and other ’96 alumni donated more than $10,000 for the creative venture.
Yee said she dreamed up the idea for the contest partly as a way to lift students’ spirits after a few challenging years of pandemic life. “For me, tapping into my creative side as a musician really helped me pull through some of the more difficult times of the lockdown, and I thought that some sort of creative endeavor – with the opportunity for students to earn scholarship funds – would be a great way to generate some fun and excitement,” said Yee, who plays the guitar in her spare time and fronts for a Napa County-based cover band called the Sirens.
Besides cash prizes, three winners will join Yee and her husband for a wine-pairing dinner at her home in Napa. Each entrant also received a bottle of wine from Delicato Family Wines, where Yee works as general counsel and vice president of government affairs.
“We are so thankful to Jolene for coming up with the idea of a video competition,” UC Hastings Chief Development Officer Eric Dumbleton said. “It was a fun, creative way for students to engage with alumni and for our class of ’96 alumni to support current students with scholarship prizes. We were very impressed by the quality and creativity, as well as the sincerity, of the videos.”
The list of winners included Reynes ’24, Jonathan Chang ’22 and Darius Dela Pena ’24. The three honorable mention winners were Caitlyn Barresi ’24 and Alexia Beatriz ‘24, Karla Martinez ’22 and Nickolas ’24.